(If you haven’t yet heard the new Assumption album Hadean Tides, you’re missing a remarkable experience. Maybe this excellent interview by Comrade Aleks of Giorgio Trombino will give you the push you need.)
Giorgio Trombino (guitars, bass, vocals, synths) and David Lucido (drums) formed the death-doom unit Assumption in 2011, but these guys from Sicily had a rich background already, and I wouldn’t like to waste your time mentioning all of their other bands. I’m just going to tell you – it’s more than ten, you see.
Despite all the genres they explored with other bands Assumption gives them a firm ground for psychedelic experiments on the fields of death-doom in its most twisted, and sometimes extreme, forms. And this is a great opportunity to taste some really sophisticated doom, as Everlasting Spew Records and Sentient Ruin released Assumption’s new album Hadean Tides a month ago.
Hi Giorgio! Thanks for your time, I hope this interview will help us to spread the word about your second full-length Hadean Tides. So let’s start if you do not mind.
Hi Aleks, thank you and No Clean Singing for reaching out. Hope you and your readers won’t mind the fact that we actually have some clean vocals here and there eheh!
We don’t mind! First of all, Assumption was born 11 years ago and back then you and David already played in a few local bands. What drove you to join your efforts under the death-doom banner?
I’ve been in bands with David since 2004 but up until 2011 we’d mostly played fast stuff. We did have a few doomy and Sabbath-ish moments in our old band Haemophagus already, but at some point we felt the need to take things to a different, more extreme dimension. A big, big part to it was, and still is, up to our love of diSEMBOWELMENT, Evoken, Esoteric and Winter. Those four bands plus several others just cracked our skulls open.
These bands you mentioned above are/were quite extreme. Did you search for this sound for the sake of extremity itself?
Well, of course we are into extreme slow stuff but we try to work with a broader purpose. When we started out I had this clear vision of a band with punishing death doom riffs which would suddenly crash into long, early ’70s Pink Floyd-inspired sections. That’s because there certainly is a mind-melting, psychedelic aspect to slow, repetitive music, and that’s what I like most about it even though we’ve always had some scattered bursts of speed here and there.
In regards to the dark mantra effect of doom, we acknowledge the influence of titans like Thergothon, Funeral Moth, Ataraxie, and Unholy.
You slowly shaped Assumption’s sound through the demo Mosaic of the Distant Dominion (2012) and the EP The Three Appearances (2014), which certainly helped you to reach this authentic formula we hear on the debut full-length Absconditus (2018). Why did it take so long before you released this album?
We’ve always been involved in a lot (maybe too many) other bands and side projects which require a lot of time. On top of that, Assumption started out as a studio-only thing with very relaxed timetables, as we initially felt like we wouldn’t be able to perform our songs live properly with all the synths and clean nuances.
That being said, after the release of The Three Appearances we got into a long re-negotiation phase with different labels. That was before eventually going with Giorgio of Everlasting Spew Records and Mattia Alagna of Sentient Ruin Laboratories, who showed interest in the album and helped us pull it out of the bog it was stuck in.
So do you have “a main band” amongst those where you play? Where is Assumption’s place in a list of your priorities?
I can safely state that today Assumption is my main band, but I must also say that, being a musician who tries to make a living out of it, I’m always putting 110% of my energies in all of my projects, really.
The band showed its identity through these three massive tracks and I can’t avoid a comparison with the lunatic psychedelia of Esoteric. With all those twists and sudden bursts of insane chaos, some of elements have this feeling for sure. How did you form Assumption’s image when you were writing this material?
Oh man, they are a pivotal band for us all in Assumption. When I first heard Epistemological Despondency I felt I had just found the fucking Graal, same goes with the 1993 demo or later suff like Subconscious Dissolution… anyway, their first opus is one of the most hallucinogenic albums ever in metal. That raw production sounding like they soaked it in some painful drug, the cleans, the tortured screams, and then this surreal feeling of pre-death calm. Esoteric rule, no doubts about it.
Esoteric was formed 30 years ago, in July 1992. Do you aim to keep your band alive for that long? Do you feel there’s enough space for extreme metal art in the modern world?
I’d be ok with keeping the band alive as long as our material and performances sound interesting. I don’t like bands who drag it on for too long. I believe you only have this much to say in your life and there is a time when you have to look at yourself in the mirror and recognize that you might have achieved all that you could with your project. Staying true to yourself and being ready to go off the beaten track is the No. 1 rule for longevity as far as I’m concerned.
The new album Hadean Tides was recorded with two more members. How did you recruit Claudio and Matija? Did this addition help you to improve Assumption?
We’ve been friends with Claudio for years because he had already played with me and David in Undead Creep and with David in Gravesite. We got to know Matija while he was touring the EU with Escarnium, stayed in touch, and then found out he was as much into slow stuff as we were. It only took us a few chords played in the same room to understand how greatly they’d both work within the band. The problem now is getting to be in the same room because we live in four different places.
How long did you work over this material? Did the new members help you with their parts or was everything completed when they joined you?
The composition lasted loosely 3 years or so. Earlier on I used to just let all of my riffs and lyrics out with very little re-thinking, but the more we progress the more we feel like some songs need a little time before they can reach a certain scope. As far as the line-up is concerned we decided to be a stable four-piece, both live and in the studio, halfway into the songwriting process for Hadean Tides already. I love the way Matija and Claudio play and write, and their ideas will undoubtedly be more evident on our next LP.
Hadean Tides’ structure differs from the one of Absconditus, but Assumption’s tendency for experiments is simply audible. In which direction did you aim to develop the band with this album? Do you see this material as an experimental one-two?
This band has a peculiar DNA but we have never been and never will be afraid to experiment. The aim is not experimenting for the sake of it, though. It’s more about using whatever musical element fits our vision of obscure, ominous music. We never used spoken words, clean singing, or wind instruments just to spice up an otherwise dull formula. It’s not about some half-baked goth part that you throw in to let everybody know you like Paradise Lost. We’ve always tried to make those elements substantially and structurally appropriate within specific sections of our songs. I believe this subgenre is made of atmosphere and that’s where you have to focus in order to make it worthwhile, fresh, and interesting. No point riding your one-trick pony over and over.
What were the most difficult parts for you during this recording session?
Everything about this record proved to be difficult. We were actually about to enter the studio with Manuele Marani already in March 2020, but then covid kicked in and we ended up postponing the sessions so many times that we decided to at least record guitars separately. In January 2021 I did my guitar parts and all synths at my place and then Matija sent me his tracks from Slovenia, and then in June we finally found a way to get to Marani‘s studio and complete all remaining parts with David and Claudio. More delays and non-band-related issues had us waiting for the final result up until December of the same year.
Esoteric isn’t the most popular influence for new bands, but I remember a one-man band, “a studio project,” whose two albums were recorded just at home. Do you feel this method of recording is acceptable for Assumption?
We’ve always done some stuff at home, mainly d.i. guitars and synths. We always need to go to the studio at a certain point of our record production process. I can tell you that in the future I wish we can have most, if not all, our instruments tracked together at the same place and at the same time.
It’s said that Hadean Tides is partly influenced by William Butler Yeats, Dylan Thomas, Thomas Stearns Eliot, and Rainer Maria Rilke. Is it a conceptual album? What’s the plot behind it?
Let’s say there are two main lyrical directories. One is related to the title, Hadean, which is the first geological eon of formation of our planet. The other one relates to the realm of pure symbolic vision and that’s where the influence of the aforementioned poets was crucial. The one song that reflects their footprint the most is “Triptych“. I was diving into poems by Dylan Thomas such as All all and all the dry words lever, trying to find a way to depict images by hiding them through uncanny connections and combinations.
There’s no way in the world I’ll ever consider myself a poet, I’m just someone who’s getting struck by certain things as he follows different paths whose destination is primarily unkown to myself.
The flow of Hadean Tides seems to be unpredictable and wild, as you’ll never know when Assumption is going to launch its death metal slaughter, and it’s always sudden, as you tend also to amazing cosmic soundscapes as well. What makes you proud with this album?
Well, the simple fact of having it released is something to be proud of, considering all the shit we went through. But yes, you got it right. All in all we’re just trying to tell a story and get listeners to the point of losing the map of the place they’re in. References to the physical plane should be minimal throughout the whole listening experience, so if you found yourself asking what will come next, then I/us as a band can consider ourselves proud of what we’ve done.
Does the idea of playing this album live interest you? Do you see live performance as a necessary aspect of Assumption?
As previously stated, we first started out as a studio-only band. Our very first gig was in 2015 in Brescia (IT) with Esoteric, Fuoco Fatuo and Abysmal Grief, and that was like a make-or-break thing for us. Eventually we found out that we liked to play our music live, it’s a completely different experience for us as musicians compared to the rest of our projects, so from that concert on we’ve tried to go out and play whenever the occasion was right. We have one festival appearance in line which will be unveiled shortly, plus a Kill Town Booking organized EU tour with fellow death doomsters Into Coffin (GER) in Autumn.
Thanks for the interview Giorgio! I hope that you’ll get enough encouraging feedback to return with Assumption in the studio soon.
Thanks to you Aleks and No Clean Singing for the support. We’re already plotting something for our next record but it’s too early to tell. See you out there!